Hand of the Week, Vol. 2 No. 10

This deal from the Tuesday 12 May game serves as a reminder of two basic bidding principles: 1. If you have a misfit, get out of the bidding sooner rather than later. 2. When a weak distributional hand is opposite a strong hand, you almost always want the weak hand's longest suit to be trump. The weak hand will take 3 or 4 tricks if its suit is trump that cannot be won in partner's suit or in notrump.

Dealer North
NS vul
S Q T 9 8 7 4
H 9 7
C 5 2
S K 6 3
H K T 8 4
D Q 6 4
C A J 8
[table marker] S A J 5
H Q 6 5
D 8 7 5 2
C T 6 4
S 2
H A J 3 2
D A 9 3
C K Q 9 7 3

People at ALL FIVE tables at this week's club game renewed their Overbidders Anonymous memberships for the year by going set in silly contracts on this board. There are several different ways the bidding could go, depending on your partnership style. My personal preference, playing weak jump shifts, is


If your partnership allows weak twos on queen-ten-high suits, 2S-Pass-Pass-Pass works. But if your partner opens a weak two and you have a singleton in partner's suit, nothing good is going to happen by pushing the bidding up higher, even if you have a full opening bid yourself. Notice that even if North held AKJxxx in spades and the DK you have less than a 50-50 chance at making any game.

If you're not playing weak jump shifts by a passed hand, starting with 1C-Pass-1S is also reasonable. This gives South an ugly rebid problem: 2C may be the least of evils even though it implies a 6-card club suit. 1NT to show a balanced 12-14 despite singleton spade is unappealing but reasonable. A reverse to 2H, supposedly promising about 17 HCP, is an overbid. But today, South is off the hook, because over any of those three rebids, North's second bid is 2S and that ends the auction. Any South who bids on to 2NT or beyond after being told his partner is weak with long spades is ignoring both of the golden rules in the first paragraph, and earns a well-deserved bottom.

With best play (guessing correctly who has the DQ) and defence, North-South can take 8 tricks in spades, 7 in clubs, or 5 in notrump. At the table, the five results were 2NT down 1, 3C down 1, 3S down 2, 3NT down 2, and 3NT down 4. Anyone who got this simple auction right would have gotten a cold top!

West also has an opportunity to overbid, with an ill-advised takeout double if South opens 1C, but he will probably not be punished for it, since North rather than East is the one with the spades.

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This page last updated 13.05.09
©2009 Gordon Bower